New England better get ready for brownouts and higher electricity bills. As for oil prices, they are low now, but I have seen many, many energy price cycles over the last 45 years of watching the sector for a living. And they often come with little warning.
Part 2 of this three-part series concerning America's first offshore wind farm was an October interview with Cape Wind's Communications Director Mark Rodgers. Rodgers recently recalled the significance of Massachusetts's original windmills to the early economy of Cape Cod:
Cape Wind Communications Director Mark Rodgers reflects on the leadership required to move the project from drawing board to construction. He explains how the un-calculated or "external" costs of polluting sources of energy have inspired communities to support renewable sources of power.
If you are an environmental lawyer, there is nothing more deflating than reading a judge's decision that clinically rejects all your best arguments. I know because I have had my share of losing environmental cases.
How many threatened birds and tortoises would you be willing to sacrifice to build a commercial wind farm, or a utility-scale solar array? It's an oversimplified way to frame things, of course, but it highlights the reality that renewable energy has environmental impacts, too.
Twelve years after Jim Gordon, a New England developer of natural gas plants, launched his effort to build the country's first offshore wind project, the effort is mired in a bureaucratic tangle of permits, sign-offs and lawsuits.
For Massachusetts, Cape Wind is the most important clean energy project. For the nation, it's a bellwether of what's to come. Will we chose to create a clean energy future, or to repeat our dirty energy past.
Until we get serious about discussing clean energy's benefits to consumers -- more choices, more energy independence, more cost savings -- and stop focusing on how politics gets in the way, the industry will fight to go mainstream.
It is hard to imagine a new angle on the Cape Wind project. However, one item that deserves some attention: jobs and what the Massachusetts utility regulator's decision to approve the project means for new energy technology.